Egg facts get scrambled in data analysis

Friday, 4 December 2020

You may have noticed a research story in some media outlets recently claiming eggs cause diabetes.

Er, no.

The claims were based on data collected from 8,545 adults in China from 1991 to 2009 and analysed by researchers at the University of South Australia, the China Medical University and Qatar University.

When approached for comment by the media, here’s what Diabetes NSW & ACT’s Chief Executive Officer Sturt Eastwood said:

“This research is based on old dietary data from China. It shows that egg intake in China increased from 1991 to 2009. Diabetes also rose over the same time. That doesn’t mean eating more eggs causes diabetes.

“The study also showed that other risk factors increased in the study population over that time including age, weight, eating fewer vegetables and doing less exercise.

“We know that Type 2 diabetes is caused by many factors. There is not one simple prevention method. It’s also inadvisable to transpose results from one country with different genetic risk factors, diet and exercise habits on an Australian population.

“There’s many more questions raised than answered by this paper.

“People shouldn’t rule out eggs from their diet based on this research.”

Diabetes NSW & ACT also pointed out that this research pertains to Type 2 diabetes, which in about 60 percent of cases can be affected by diet and lifestyle.

It does not relate to Type 1 diabetes, which is an autoimmune condition that can’t be delayed or prevented. The vast majority of children with diabetes have Type 1 diabetes.

Diabetes NSW & ACT recommends following the Australian Dietary Guidelines, which includes eating up to seven eggs a week.

An abstract of the initial research was published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

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